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Readers' Views: For independents, proposed election reforms not enough

Posted 8/20/13



President Obama’s newly appointed Commission on Election Administration has begun holding public hearings around the country. The 10-member body is tasked with presenting recommendations to the president about how to …

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Readers' Views: For independents, proposed election reforms not enough


Representatives of independent voter groups in Virginia, New York and Florida attended hearings in Washington, DC and Miami, FL and submitted testimony. Other local independent voter groups – including mine, Independent Pennsylvanians, who are under the umbrella of (a national association for independent voters) – will be attending the hearings scheduled for Philadelphia (Sept. 4) and Ohio (Sept. 20).

Independents are deeply concerned that America’s political process is in a crisis and agree this deserves serious attention. But the Commission has already carved out a narrow mandate that falls short of the public debate we need to have.

For example, there are specific defects that affect independent voters that the Commission doesn’t seem prepared to address. In Pennsylvania, there are more than 1.1 million independents who are not allowed to vote in the primaries. And with 40 percent of Americans now identifying as independent, this should be a Commission priority.

Independents have been saying for years that reform won’t come from the political parties themselves (they have too much to lose) but from the outside and from the bottom up.

Exposing the barriers independents face to fully participating in the elections process is our focus for the next few months. We invite independents – and independent-minded Pennsylvanians – throughout the state to join us.{jcomments on}

                                                          Jenn Bullock

(The writer is the founder of Independent Pennsylvanians)